Bishop-elect prays that life will be protected

A Dublin-born theologian, named yesterday by Pope Benedict as the next Bishop of Limerick, said he prayed at “this delicate time” that politicians would be inspired to know how best to protect the lives of mothers and their unborn children.

Fr Brendan Leahy will be ordained bishop in the spring.

He replaces Bishop Donal Murray, who resigned in Dec 2009 after publication of the Murphy commission report into child sex abuse in Dublin archdiocese.

Speaking outside St John’s Cathedral, after his appointment was announced in Rome and Limerick, Fr Leahy said it gave him the chance to offer his gratitude to our legislators for their commitment to promoting the common good.

“Politics is a vocation and I am convinced most people enter politics with a vision and a desire to improve the world. I want to assure them of prayers at this delicate time for the protection of life, that they may be inspired to know how best to protect the lives of mothers and their unborn children.”

In particular, he said he wanted to greet people who felt they were hanging on in the Church by their fingertips and all who were struggling with their faith. “I invite you not to give up. This is a year of faith. It can be a new start for us all.”

Fr Leahy said they must do everything possible to ensure that church settings are always good places. “In this regard, I am pleased to recognise the observation made in the recent audit by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland that the diocese of Limerick has robust measures in place in the area of child safeguarding and protection.”

Fr Leahy said that days when a new bishop was announced was an opportunity for the person concerned and also for the whole diocese to begin again in faith, hope and love.

“On this day, I want to join the diocese in prayer for one another, prayer for our Christian brothers and sisters of other denominations.

“In this regard, I greet warmly Bishop Trevor Williams of the Church of Ireland, pray for those we know who are suffering in any way, those in hospital, those looking for work, those with family difficulties; prayer for those afflicted by abuse in any way, mental health problems and fear of violence and crime.”

About 300 priests and lay people attended a prayer ceremony in the cathedral.

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